Stevia 100% Natural Herbal Sweetener
Artificial sweeteners are developed in organic chemistry labs. Stevia grows wild in the rain forests.
Finally, a sweetener that I think has yet to show any real toxicity. It has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians both as a sweetener and a medicinal. It does not have any calories, is suitable for diabetics and does not cause cavities. It is obtained from the leaves of the stevia shrub which grows wild in the Amambay Mountain region of Paraquay.
Introduced in Japan in 1970.
Stevia was first introduced to Japan in 1970 and by 1988 it represented 41% of the sweetener market in Japan. To date, there have been no ill effects or health related problems. It is also used in Japan, to sweeten other foods such as ice cream, bread, candy, pickles, seafood, vegetables and soft drinks. The safety of stevia is accepted in Japan. Besides being grown in Japan, it is now grown in China, Germany, Malaysia, Israel and South Korea.
1991 Stevia Banned by the FDA
Sometime in the late 1980's an anonymous interest filed a trade complaint against stevia when it began to show up in the US. One of the companies using stevia at that time was Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea Company. The FDA ordered them to stop producing their teas, which they said were "adulterated." Another tea company, Traditional Medicinals, had their entire inventory of teas containing stevia confiscated by the FDA in an unexpected raid. The FDA even ordered a "book burning" in Texas, of stevia related books. Fortunately, the ACLU and the public heard of this and the FDA backed down.
1995 The FDA reverses its decision (halfway)
Stevia can now be sold as a nutritional supplement, but not as a food additive / sweetener. It is available in health food and vitamin stores usually in the vitamin department. It can also be bought online. So far there do not seem to be any real problems with stevia. There were some poorly conducted studies done with enormous quantities of stevia administered to some lab animals with resultant ?mutagens and problems with carbohydrate metabolism. Generally, studies that are done to find something wrong with a product, will either find something wrong by utilizing poorly designed experiments or invent some questionable findings. Besides, what study done in a laboratory is more significant than hundreds of years of use in South America and well over thirty years of use in Japan, with no known ill effects on human health.
Stevia is even known to have good medicinal properties.
In fact, stevia has been shown to have good medicinal properties in well designed studies, such as lowering blood pressure and improving glucose tolerance in diabetics.
Today's Health Tip
If you like to have added sweetness in your teas, coffee and other foods, definitely consider stevia. It appears to be a whole lot safer than any of the other sweeteners both sugar based and artificial, that we have recently reviewed.
Stryer Biochemistry Fourth Edition
The Practical Hippie http://www.practicalhippie.com/stevia.htm
The url above contains a lot of good information on stevia and has a lot of good links.
The MericleDiet makes it easy to go without any added sugars or sweeteners. To visit the MericleDiet follow the link below:
Thanks for your attention.
Copyright 2005 John Mericle M.D. All Rights Reserved
http://DrMericle.com is devoted to achieving optimal health and peak performance through diet and lifestyle change. Dr. Mericle brings together a unique blend of formal training in organic chemistry and biochemistry, medical education, 29 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions and a lot of practical real life experience.
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